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DopefishLives
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Kitchenware (knives and pots/pans)

I'm starting to get more serious about cooking on the hobbiest level. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to make meals happen accurately and in a timely fashion though as my selection of knives is very limited, slowing down prep time and making a mess of some foods. I also find that my selection of pots and pans are not adequate, either undersized or oversized for most of my meals and the cheaper materials seem to heat unevenly or wear poorly.

I'm not looking to invest in extremely expensive cookware, but I'd love to get a core selection of good quality items to allow me to focus on the food and not how to overcome my limited tools.

Knife wise I really need a good bread knife and paring knife -- I'm not sure what other knives would serve me, but one targeted for cutting or trimming meat would be a nice addition as well. I've found some reasonably priced Tojiro knives with positive reviews. The entry price of $50~ seems pretty good to me, given how expensive a decent knife can get.

I also want to get a cheap but reasonable paring knife to keep with my lunch kit to prepare simple meals at work like salads or toppings for sandwiches and the like. Looking online I found Japanese knives tend to be some of the best, but they are very expensive, which may make for wise investments in the kitchen, but the mobile outfit should be far more economical just in case it gets lost or stolen.

I also want to get a rice cooker, but that is another hefty expense, that I'll likely hold off on until next spring. My friend has a very nice Cuckoo unit which I've used and found suited (and exceeded) my needs in just about every way.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:47 PM DopefishLives is offline  
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cokezeroholic
 
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So, what exactly are you asking for? You seemed to have answered a few of your own questions.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:01 PM cokezeroholic is offline  
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DopefishLives
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I have ideas, that doesn't mean that they are correct. There are a lot of Genmay chefs, I was hoping for some input from them and what has worked best in their kitchens.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:08 PM DopefishLives is offline  
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WMF works well and is inexpensive for european standards. we cook and cut with them 5 nights/week for 3+ years.

don't know about the availability in the states.

http://www.amazon.de/WMF-Messerset-S...8&sr=8-3-fkmr0
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:23 PM acidfast7 is offline  
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Some really good cookware is Calphalon. T-Fal is very good for it's price too. Unless you're not concerned about money or hung up on looks, don't go for All-Clad or any enameled cast iron.

As far as knives go, it's totally up to you. I can't tell you which knives to get because I don't really know hot they'll feel in your hand. You should just go find a store with a wide selection of knives and compare them on the areas of: price, feel, durability, and looks. You can usually find travel paring knives in plastic sheaths that are good quality. I have no idea about rice cookers since I don't eat it very often and I just use my regular pots to cook it.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:45 PM cokezeroholic is offline  
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Butthole Eliminator
 
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Mercer and Forschner/Victorinox knives have the best bang for the buck value. Don't get tricked by the price tag. They're very hardy and get the job done at better than home kitchen level.

The most professional kitchens I've been in actually use those brands as in-house knives. I never had to bring my Messermeisters to work because of those knives. The synthetic grips of the Mercers also makes them very comfortable. The downside is that they make my personal knives feel more like trophies and ornaments than tools mostly because I keep on going back to those workhorses.


As for pots and pans. All Clad is very expensive, but I love those pans and pots. they're designed really well. and rice cookers, just check out your local Asian supermarket and pick one at random you can't truly pick a bad one (except for martin yan branded cookers). my parents have a really basic cooker, it just one button that cooks the rice and keeps it warm, they bought it 7 years ago. Or just cook rice in a standard pot.

Last edited by Butthole Eliminator; 11-14-2010 at 08:18 AM..
Old 11-14-2010, 08:13 AM Butthole Eliminator is offline  
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WILLIAM NOT
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Aroma rice cookers are awesome and very reasonably priced.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:31 AM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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i'll just paste pages from one of my cookbooks. this is meant for cooking for one





with the knives, sharpening them is important. either get your own sharpening stuff, or take them to a knife shop or other place that does sharpening.

for pots/pans i like calphalon.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:51 AM asdsad is offline  
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WILLIAM NOT
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with the knives, sharpening them is important. either get your own sharpening stuff, or take them to a knife shop or other place that does sharpening.
(From Alton Brown) I've learned how it is a bad idea to attempt to sharpen your own knives. Most sharpening tools have a high risk to chip your blade, and are kind of unsanitary. All you really need is a honing steel. Take the knife to get professionally sharpened if it is truly dull.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:57 AM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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snitzle_iii
 
u should get a Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife
That be the knife u see at all your favorite spots. comes in either black or white. i prefer black. america's test kitchen's favorite knife. has alot of versatility. Have had it for about 3/4 of a year. idk what kind of my roomates (5) put this knife through. works well, not as wonderful as the first time i used it. literally u could cut tomatoes like they show on tv. great control, great comfort.

http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-475.../dp/B000638D32
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:57 PM snitzle_iii is offline  
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diearzte2
 
I just relocated, sort of in the same situation. Had pretty much everything I needed at home, but now am 1000+ miles away and am replacing pretty much everything with the exception of my knife. I use Wusthof knives, primarily an 8 inch hollow-blade santuko. Santukos and chef's knives are interchangeable and are basically the workhorse of knives. Since I have it sitting right here, I'll quote Anthony Bourdain from Kitchen Confidential:

"'So, what do you absolutely need?

You need, for God's sake, a decent chef's knife. No con foisted on the general public is so atrocious, so wrongheaded, or so widely believed as the one that tells you you need a full set of specialized cutlery in various sizes. I wish sometime I could go through the kitchens of amateur cooks everywhere just throwing knives out from their drawrs - all those medium-size 'utlility' knives, those useless serrated things you see advertised on TV, all that hard-to-sharpen stainless-steel garbage, those ineptly designed slicers - not one of the damn things could cut a tomato. Please believe me, here's all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chef's knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand. Brand name? Okay, most talented amateurs get a boner buying one of the old-school professional high-carbon stainless knives from Germany or Austria, like a Henkel or Wusthof, and those are fine knives, if heave. High carbon makes them slightly easier to sharpen, and stainless keeps them from getting stained and corroded. They look awfully good in the knife case at the store too, and you send the message to your guests when flashing a hundred-dollar hunk of Solingen steel that you take your cooking seriously. But do you really need something so heavy? So expensive? So difficult to maintain (which you probably won't)? Unless you are really and truly going to spend fifteen minutes every couple of days working on that blade on an oiled carborundum stone, followed by careful honing on a diamond steel, I'd forgo the Germans.

Most of the professionals I know have for years been retiring their Wusthofs and replacing them with the lightweigh, easy-to-sharpen and relatively inexpensive vanadium steel Global knives, a very good Japanese product which has - in addition to its many other fine qualities - the added attraction of looking really cool.

Global makes a lot of knives in different sizes, so what do you need? One chef's knife. This should cut just about anything you might work with, from a shallot to a watermellon, an onion to a sirloin strip

....

A paring knife comes in handy once in a while, if you find yourself tournéeing vegetables, fluting mushrooms and doing the kind of microsurgery that my old pal Dimitri used to excel at. But how often do you do that?"



Globals run about 80-100 bucks, which is more than the 50 you mentioned, but you can probably find a good deal on one somewhere. I actually ended up getting my first Wusthof santuko for 40 bucks on clearance at a department store, so there are good deals on nice knives out there.

For paring knives, here is an interesting article on the subject:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/09/e...ng-knives.html

But he ends up recommending some really expensive paring knives, which I don't suggest.

What are you paring, anyways? You should be doing almost everything with your chef's knife, unless you're making really elaborate presentations for some reason. I would honestly go to any restaurant supply store and buy the paring knives they have there for 5 bucks. A friend of mine goes to the FCI here in Manhattan and he uses super cheap knives other than his chef's knife.

A serrated knife is a different story. Anthony Bourdain recommends this one for 25 bucks:

http://www.amazon.com/Dick-Offset-Br.../dp/B0001EK2US

He basically says because it is serrated, the quality matter much less, which is true, it doesn't really need to hold an edge like a chef's knife.

Edit: I just ordered that exact knife after posting this lol

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Anyways, on to cookware. I just bought this set of 8 for 150 bucks, it is only sold through Walmart online, though:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina...ci_sku=5716478

They have a 10 piece set for 250:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina...i_sku=11072505

Basically, if you haven't heard about them, they are from South America and are being compared to the nearly $1,000 All-Clad sets, at about 1/10th the price. Cook's Illustrated recommends them after comparing the two sets. They are very similar construction, 3 ply, riveted handles ect. Here is another article on it:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/e...a-skillet.html

and a Chowhound article:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/537551



Hope this helps!
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:38 PM diearzte2 is offline  
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I am ashamed to post this, but...........I bought 3 ceramic knives (2 chef's knives and 1 paring knife) from harbor freight a couple years ago, and they are still like new. I do so love them. $40 for all 3, never sharpened, and can still shave a fingernail.

Ditto on Tramontina as being a really quality product. I have a set of stainless pans and a complete knife set/block and no complaints. Of course the knives don't get used like they used to.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:23 PM punisher is offline  
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asa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theLiberator View Post
(From Alton Brown) I've learned how it is a bad idea to attempt to sharpen your own knives. Most sharpening tools have a high risk to chip your blade, and are kind of unsanitary. All you really need is a honing steel. Take the knife to get professionally sharpened if it is truly dull.



you need to spend time learning how to sharpen a blade, and find a decent whetstone, but once you do and once you learn, it's incredibly easy to do
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:32 PM asa is offline  
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WILLIAM NOT
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Quote:
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you need to spend time learning how to sharpen a blade, and find a decent whetstone, but once you do and once you learn, it's incredibly easy to do
Quick Google search agrees with you. Alton Brown is not infallible .

Edit: It also recommends using diamond-based sharpeners.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:50 PM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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asa
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meh
i've used diamond before, but a good whetstone is better

of course, that's what my dad taught me to sharpen a knife with, so i grew up doing it :shrug:

edit: personally, if you can find a circular one about 5" across with a coarse and fine side, it seems to work much better, you can hold it easier and it seems to work better, however i've only ever seen one and my dad ain't letting it go
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